Skip to main content

Shell’s flowery claims are a lie
Copyright © Friends of the Earth | Contact Us | Support Friends of the Earth

Friends of the Earth is today, 8 May 2007, filing a complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority about a Shell advert that makes exaggerated and misleading green claims about the oil giant's operations. Shell's advert depicts the outline of an oil refinery emitting flowers rather than smoke and claims that it uses its "waste CO2 to grow flowers and waste sulphur to make concrete." Simultaneous complaints are being made to the national advertising standards authorities in Belgium and the Netherlands.
Friends of the Earth is objecting to the overall messages and imagery used. The advert says `Don't throw anything away, there is no away' - which may be true, but the implication that Shell carries out its operations in line with this is false and misleading. Shell's advert is also misleading because it suggests that Shell uses all of its waste carbon dioxide (CO2) to grow flowers while in reality it uses less than 0.5 % of it to grow flowers.
At a refinery in the Netherlands, Shell pipes carbon dioxide to heat greenhouses, saving 350,000 tonnes a year. This is only 0.325 per cent of Shell's direct carbon dioxide emissions from its operations. According to Shell's own figures, it emitted 100 million tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2005 [1]
Hannah Griffiths, Friends of the Earth's Corporates Campaigner, said:
"Shell is one of the world's dirtiest companies. People living next door to Shell's refineries around the world can vouch for that. Shell should spend money cleaning up its mess, not on deceiving the public with expensive, dishonest adverts. We hope that the advertising standard authorities will take immediate action to withdraw the advert and order Shell to air a correction to the audiences reached with the misleading advert."
There are people suffering from the effects of the pollution emitted by Shell's refineries in Nigeria, South Africa, the US and the Philippines, among others.
In Nigeria, Shell wastes gas, a by product of oil, by flaring it, despite having been ordered to stop by the Nigerian High Court. Shell's illegal flares emit sulphur which causes acid rain and devastates the environment and corrodes people's homes.
In Durban (South Africa), for example, Shell emits 7,300 tonnes of sulphur dioxide a year, much of which it could recover and reuse. People living near Shell's refinery suffer from high rates of asthma and respiratory diseases, thought to be caused as a result of breathing in high levels of sulphur dioxide.
[1] Latest available figures - from Shell's Sustainability ¬shell_sustainability_report_2005.pdf
Contact details:

Friends of the Earth26-28 Underwood St.LONDONN1 7JQTel: 020 7490 1555Fax: 020 7490 0881Email:

Posted Date: 
11 May 2007 - 9:43pm